I have worked with lots of people now to help them lose weight and get healthier and I have to say that there are more excuses to not getting healthy than just about any topic you can make up an excuse about. I don't have the time, it's too hard to make that "health" food with the kids running around the kitchen, it's a bad time of year to start eating right, (huh?), I've tried everything and nothing works, it's my metabolism, my whole family is fat, I didn't pick the wine the wine picked me, we just looove food (so do I!), I can't eat healthy food, it gives me gas, my grandmother lived til she was 90 so I'll probably do okay too (guess again), and probably my favorite one of all time...my heart has just so many beats I don't want to use them all up (whhhaaattt?)
Come on people!!!!! Working as long as I did in the hospital (you only need to be in a hospital for a minute or so to know that you don't want to end up there for any reason) gives me the right to tell you that you'll be wishing that you didn't make excuses when you end up with a heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, dementia, or even chronic low back pain. Yep, studies are showing that even low back pain can be related to your eating habits. Arteries that supply the lower spine are affected by poor blood flow directly related to eating animal rich diet and new studies are emerging every day showing that chronic back pain can have a definite relationship to diet. Bottom line is: how we eat affects our health profoundly, and there is a ton of research back it up yet people can still find a zillion excuses not to address it. Take an hour of your life and check out Dr Greger's talk on uprooting the leading causes of death and get back to me with your excuses for starting tomorrow or next week, or next year. Start now with small changes TODAY. Meatless Monday is a great start if you are big meat eaters! Get rid of anything processed (especially meat... hot dogs are beyond evil little death sticks) in your fridge and pantry and cook a meal. Or cut up a bunch of veggies and steam them, heat up some beans, make some rice and eat it for dinner. Start simply and don't stress yourself out about being perfect. It takes a while to get in the swing of it like any habit. Stick with it and processed foods, oily meals, animal protein, and very sugary treats will not be attractive to you anymore. Your palate changes. I promise.
It is annoying how quickly it can change back if you let those foods back in though. I, for years and years let the Halloween candy into my life every Oct and it was always a downward spiral from there until New Years when I would feel like I had to detox. Juice places and gyms do a KILLING on the 1st part of the the year because people go off and take the holidays as carte blanche to trash their bodies. For me, junk food, meat, and cheese don't taste good anymore. Candy tastes artificial and gross. It has been 10 months now of totally clean eating. It took 3 months for the cravings to go away completely. Happy to get through that though and be so content with a peach or a banana. Crazy how sweet they taste now.
Of all the questions people can ask me about plant-based eating, I think, "don't you miss burgers???" is the most commonly asked question. It is a complicated answer as I don't personally miss eating burgers but, I DO miss burgers. I miss them because it always sounded so American in a cooly BBQish way to say "hey come over for some burgers!" Saying hey come over for some lentil or black bean burgers does not exactly conjure up the cool all- American barbecue. I definitely aim to change that. If fact, I recently one of my best friend's (who has gone plant based and is looooving it) whole family over for my black bean burgers including a hubby who my friend told me would not touch them. He had two of them with a smile on his face. Give people choices, and a lot of time you'll actually be surprised.
I actually haven't really eaten red meat for years. So it's not something that I would miss anymore. Every once in a while I would have a bite of JD's burger and it really just kind of disgusted me. Fortunately, it now disgusts him too so burgers are not part of my vocabulary unless they have a lentil, bean, brown rice, beet attached to the word.
The other large reason I don't miss them is environmental. Americans alone consume over 1,000,000,000 pounds of beef a year. That is over 5 1/2 million head of cattle. Crazy numbers, right? Well guess what, this is only at McDonald's. Think of the all of the other chain burger places serving up burgers every day in this number can double or triple. The world is eating more beef than ever and it isa pretty dire environmental mess. To produce 1 pound of beef, the friendly neighborhood farmer will need 13 pounds of grain and an estimated 2,500 gallons of water. If a 1,000-pound cow yields 600 pounds of beef, that cow used 1.5 million gallons of water and 7,800 pounds of grain. On a basic level, farming at this scale is pretty inefficient, when you could effectively feed thousands of people with just the grain and water it takes to produce that one cow (stats source: theverge.com). Check out this Johns Hopkins article on agriculture and the environment. Here is Another link on how factory farming is killing the environment.
Somehow, very few people want to tackle this one. Everyone wants to brush under the carpet and eat their burgers, steaks etc. Everyone could just switch to chicken, but these are for the most part factory farmed, treated disgustingly inhumanely and use a huge chunk of the earth's resources as well. Don't get me started on pork. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but fish have been so overfished now that they will not be around much longer if we keep it up. Fish farms are a poor substitute as they pollute heavily and the fish basically ingest more of their own poop than fish food, and I definitely am not interested in eating that fish.
I hear a lot of people rationalizing that the meat they eat is grass fed, or cage free organic etc. The fact is, it is not sustainable and not that much better for you. Beef magazine, yes Beef magazine has an article that cites the only scientific study done that looked at grass fed versus good old regular corn fed antibiotic laden beef (check it out if you want) and sorry, but there was no difference in health benefits. If you would like more Omega 3 in your diet add some flax, chia or hemp to your smoothies instead of eating grass fed moo.
Animal protein is killing us and we all eat way too much of it. Stop rationalizing that what you're eating is good because you read an article in health and fitness magazine, or some dude at the gym who is all paleo brainwashed, and can't shut up about it said organ meat is rad and made him ripped. That article was probably sponsored by the meat or dairy industry and the dude is misinformed and is just happy he can eat innards. Do your own poking around! Plantbasedresearch.org is a great place to start!